...or maybe the question should be "tell me WHY I need a Synapse" - these are the TB forums, after all!
I want a new pack because last time we traveled internationally, my pack was uncomfortable and it was hard to find anything inside. It's a 10-year-old Timberland backpack (so I can't look up the capacity, but I'm guessing about 25-27L): in great shape visually, but weighs a ton even without anything in it, doesn't have ergonomic straps, and isn't well-organized. Basically I want something better for travel, but also want it to be useful the rest of the time.
Background: we are planning a three-week trip to Europe this summer. We'll have a couple different places to stay, for several days at each location, and in between we will be driving. Family of four, kids will be 6 and 10. The kids carry their own entertainment, a few snacks/water, a minimal change of clothes. In my bag I typically have:
- travel docs (passports, etc.)
- iPad mini for my entertainment
- sock-sized knitting bag
- a book (guidebook - I will have other books on the iPad, but thought it would be good for the kids to be able to look at pictures of the places we are going to)
- when I'm not wearing them, a thin SmartWool hoody (really more of a T-shirt weight) and SmartWool full zip (slightly thicker)
- water bottle
- a minimal change of clothes
- scarf for extra warmth
- whatever stuff we acquire en route (e.g. food we buy at a layover, to eat on the plane; kids' things that they forget, until I can offload them again)
(As a family, I don't think we're quite at the carry-on-only phase. I think I'll challenge the fam to get there by our next big trip, presumably in another couple of years. Meanwhile, we can practice on road trips! )
For reference, I am 5'0", usually a size S or M in shirts, so the S19 is a tempting size for me! Also I prefer the S19 colors currently available. But now I'm starting to consider the S25. I'm torn - the S19 seems like it would be great as an EDC, but I already have a beloved 16L pack (Black Diamond Bullet, circa 2004) which is small enough to force me to edit on a regular basis. So it seems to me the S19 would duplicate most of my EDC needs. Is it big enough for a laptop *plus* carry-on needs?
On the other hand, the S25 would most likely give me enough room for any extras, but will it then be a special-use bag, only to be brought out for travel? For context, we've only flown as a family twice in the last three and a half years - in the fall of 2010, and then again just this past December. (This summer's trip is a special celebration for a family member's milestone birthday.) That's about the frequency I anticipate we'll fly, going forward. I could also see using it as my One Bag when traveling by myself.
I do occasionally take my MacBook out of the house with me - just to cafes and the like, when I need some relative peace and quiet for thinking. Maybe that's what the S25 would get used for, when we're not traveling! (Oooh, just had a thought - maybe I can also use it as a gym bag? I can always bring along a tote to throw dirty clothes in, on my way out of the gym. Is it ridiculous of me not to want a Bihn bag to get all smelly? )
(I have also considered the Western Flyer on and off. I feel like I don't travel enough right now to make it worth having a dedicated bag for carry-on. I'm not ruling it out for later, though! )
Help!! I have a "few" things on backorder right now, so am tempted to add a pack and so save on shipping. What to do?